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How to Get a PO Box Without a Street Address: Step-by-Step Guide

If you’re in need of a secure mailing address but lack a traditional street address—or wish to keep your location private—obtaining a PO Box may seem daunting. In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to get a PO Box without a street address, and we’ll explore alternatives that ensure your mail remains private, accessible, and securely managed. 

Whether you’re a traveler, work remotely, or simply value your privacy, read on for practical solutions to manage your mailing needs.

Key Takeaways

  • A PO Box can enhance privacy and provide a stable mailing address for travelers and businesses, and the USPS generally requires a physical address for setup.
  • Alternative solutions like USPS General Delivery, Amazon Lockers, private mailbox services, virtual mailboxes, and programs for the homeless provide various options for receiving mail without a permanent street address.
  • It’s important to consider each alternative’s specific limitations and legal considerations such as service duration, package size restrictions, the need for a physical address for businesses, and state-specific rules.

Can You Get a PO Box Without a Street Address?

  • Post office boxes offer a secure solution for managing postal mail, providing privacy and protection from potential security risks associated with standard mailboxes.
  • For individuals who prefer to keep their home address confidential, a post office box address offers an effective means of anonymity.
  • Travelers and those constantly on the move can also benefit from a consistent mailing address linked to their local post office, ensuring they receive mail regardless of their physical location.
  • Businesses experiencing transitions can rely on a USPS PO box number to maintain a stable and professional image during periods of change.
  • The postal service typically requires a verifiable physical address to complete the online application for a post office box.
  • The following sections will outline alternative strategies to secure a mailing address without a permanent physical address, providing practical solutions for those facing this challenge.

How to Get a P.O. Box without an Address: 6 Best Alternatives to a P.O. Box

  1. USPS General Delivery Service
  • Consider the USPS General Delivery Service as a practical solution for receiving mail without a permanent valid street address.
  • This service provides a temporary holding space for your mail and packages for up to 30 days at no cost.
  • To utilize General Delivery, locate the nearest participating post office via the USPS website or mobile app. Your mail will be addressed to ‘GENERAL DELIVERY’ along with the city, state, and ZIP Code ‘9999’.
  • It’s important to note that General Delivery is intended as a short-term solution for individuals in transition or those establishing a more permanent valid address. It serves as an interim option to ensure continuity in delivering postal mail during temporary periods of relocation or travel.
  1. Amazon Locker and Package Pickup Locations
  • In today’s e-commerce landscape, Amazon Locker provides a secure and convenient option for receiving online orders.
  • Strategically located in various regions, customers can easily find these lockers by searching with their address or ZIP code on Amazon’s website.
  • Once a package is delivered to the designated locker, Amazon notifies the customer with an email containing a unique pickup code and instructions.
  • It’s important, however, to note that Amazon Locker has certain limitations.
    • Packages that exceed ten pounds in weight or dimensions that don’t fit within the locker’s confines will have to be delivered to an alternative location such as a residential address.
    • Additionally, customers have a 3-day window to collect their packages from the locker, after which the items may be returned to Amazon if not retrieved.
  1. Private Mailbox Services
  • Explore the benefits of private mailbox services, which offer a legitimate street address for your mailing needs. These services accept deliveries from various carriers, including FedEx, UPS, and DHL, providing a secure location for your packages.
  • Some companies not only provide physical storage for your mail but also offer virtual mailbox services.
    • With these services, you can have your mail forwarded, scanned, or securely disposed of according to your preferences.
  • Private mailbox services aren’t just about mailing addresses to get your mail. They also offer a real street address and suite number for a more professional image, avoiding the PO box stigma for added prestige.
  • For added convenience, some services include perks like delivery confirmation and the option to call ahead for mail pickup.
  • You can commit to these services with a contract or opt for the flexibility of a no-contract plan, which comes with your own key to access your mail.
    • This option is particularly appealing to business owners who may require a more established presence than a PO box number implies. 
  • These services often provide extended business hours for mail retrieval and the ability to receive packages from all carriers, not just the USPS.
  • For those who travel frequently or don’t have a permanent workspace, having a private mailbox with a permanent mailing address can also help in receiving official documents and maintaining a consistent point of contact for clients and associates.
  1. Renting a PO Box with a Friend or Family Member’s Address
  • Consider partnering with a friend or family member to use their address for your PO Box application.
  • This collaborative approach can provide you with a reliable valid PO Box address when you don’t have a fixed residence.
  • It’s essential to obtain consent from the primary address holder, as the USPS mandates their approval for you to share their PO Box address.
  • This strategy can be particularly useful for individuals who are in-between residences or prefer an additional layer of privacy for their correspondence.
  • The arrangement is simple:
    • Agree to the terms.
    • Submit the PO box online application.
    • Present yourself at a United States Postal Service location, with two forms of identification in hand, within 30 days to claim your PO Box keys.
  • The process is straightforward and user-friendly, designed to ensure that anyone can secure a PO Box with ease.
  • By agreeing to the terms, you acknowledge the responsibilities and guidelines set forth by the postal service, which are in place to protect your mail and privacy.
  • Submitting the application online is a convenient way to initiate the service from the comfort of your own space, whether it’s a cozy cafe or a roadside motel.
  • Once your application is processed, the final step is to make a personal appearance at the post office.
    • This is a crucial part of the process, as it involves verifying your identity and ensuring that the PO Box is being assigned to the rightful individual.
    • The two forms of identification required typically include one photo form ID, such as a driver’s license or passport, and one non-photo ID that confirms your address, such as a utility bill or bank statement.
  • After your identity has been confirmed, you’ll be entrusted with a key to your PO Box. The key provides you access to your PO Box and represents a promise of privacy and a dependable way to manage your mail.
    • This key allows you the convenience of accessing your mail on your own schedule, giving you peace of mind that no matter where your journey takes you, your correspondence is kept safe and sound within the post office.

5) Virtual Mailboxes: A Digital Alternative

  • Step into the digital age with virtual mailboxes, where your paper mail is digitized, making it accessible from anywhere in the world.
  • Services like AnytimeMailbox.com provide:
    • Digitization of physical mail into electronic images.
    • Assurance that no mail goes missing.
    • A strong commitment to privacy protection.
    • Convenient options to scan, redirect, and safely manage your mail with just one click.
  • Virtual mailboxes are more than mere storage spaces for mail. T+hey serve as control hubs for mail management, offering greater adaptability than traditional post office boxes. 
  • These innovative services provide a sophisticated platform that allows users to view and manage their mail online with ease.
  • Virtual mailboxes are designed for today’s mobile individuals and businesses, delivering a comprehensive suite of tools for mail forwarding, digital storage, and even mail shredding services. 
  • With the ability to access your mail from any device, whether a smartphone, tablet, or computer, virtual mailboxes offer an unparalleled level of convenience and flexibility.
  • They cater to the needs of digital nomads, frequent travelers, and businesses by providing a reliable and secure way to handle postal mail from anywhere in the world.
  • These online mail solutions stand as guardians of customer service and privacy, with encrypted communications and thoroughly screened staff.
  • They are the digital sentinels at the gate of your personal data, ensuring that every transaction, every exchange, remains confidential and secure. 
  • Opt for this modern solution to seamlessly bridge the gap between conventional practices and technological advancement, allowing you to manage your mail with the same ease and adaptability that you apply to other facets of your digital life.
  • These services are not just about convenience. They’re about providing a fortress of privacy in an age where information is currency, ensuring that your personal details remain just that—personal.

6) Homeless Assistance Programs and Free PO Boxes

  • For individuals without a fixed address, the USPS offers a compassionate solution through its free PO Box services.
  • Eligibility for this service requires proper identification or a verifiable point of contact, such as a shelter or social service agency.
  • The USPS provides clear guidelines and assistance for those in need, ensuring access to a secure mailing address.
  • Local post offices serve as accessible points for information and support, guiding applicants through the process of obtaining a PO Box.
  • This service provides a measure of stability and security, offering a reliable way to receive mail for those facing housing instability or who are in transition.

Tips for Choosing the Right PO Box Alternative

  • When evaluating mail service alternatives, it’s crucial to assess your specific requirements.
  • Whether you’re a traveler in need of mail forwarding services or a business looking for a prestigious address, identifying your needs is the first step.
  • Consider the financial implications, from the economical $20 fee for a small P.O. box to the more substantial $360 charge for a larger parcel box, and select the option that aligns with your budget.
  • To ensure cost-effectiveness, analyze the ongoing expenses of traditional mailbox services against the fees for digital services like mail scanning and forwarding.
  • Virtual PO boxes offer flexibility for those with frequent address changes, catering to digital nomads, travelers, and minimalists.
    • They facilitate global mail and package receipt, reflecting the mobility of remote work and the gig economy. 
  • Services like Anytime Mailbox provide cost-effective plans, starting at $5.99/month, with additional features like mail scanning, online viewing, and forwarding, ensuring timely access to postal mail.
  • When choosing a service, consider efficiency and budget to maintain mail connectivity without being anchored to one location.

Keeping Your Mail Safe and Secure

  • To ensure the security of your mail during a change of address, it’s essential to complete the USPS Change-of-Address form.
    • This form acts as a directive for the postal service to reroute your letters and packages to your new location. Only the verified PO Box holder has the authority to initiate this change.
  • For those who qualify for Group E’s no-fee boxes, this service is available without a charge. It’s important to specify whether your relocation is temporary or permanent so that you can maintain uninterrupted mail delivery.
  • It’s critical to retrieve your mail from General Delivery within the allotted 30-day window to prevent it from being returned to the sender.
  • Professional mail services provide a reliable solution for safeguarding your mail.
    • These establishments offer secure locations, often with on-site staff to ensure the safety and confidentiality of your mail.
    • If privacy and security are your priorities, these services are a dependable choice for mail reception.
    • These professional mail services often include additional layers of security, such as 24/7 surveillance and restricted access to further protect your confidential correspondence and packages.
    • Some even offer insurance options for valuable items, giving you peace of mind that your mail isn’t only secure, but also insured against potential loss or damage.
    • With the rise in identity theft and mail fraud, these enhanced security measures provide a tangible benefit to choosing a professional mail service over standard postal options.
    • For those who travel or relocate frequently, these services can be invaluable.
      • They ensure that your mail follows you seamlessly from one destination to the next without the risk of it getting lost in the shuffle.
    • Whether you’re moving across the country or traveling abroad, having a professional service handle your mail can save you time and hassle.
    • It’s a simple yet effective way to stay connected to your correspondence, bills, and packages, no matter where your journey takes you.
  • Navigating the legal maelstrom, be aware that:
    • The majority of jurisdictions require a bona fide physical address for business registration, rendering PO boxes an insufficient substitute.
    • While typically a physical address is required, certain states like New York and Montana may allow the use of PO boxes for business registration.
    • To ensure direct contact with a responsible party, a registered agent’s address cannot be a PO box, as their presence is required in a tangible location.
    • In matters of identification and official documentation, a PO box functions more as a symbolic space rather than a physical or legal residence.
    • Should your living circumstances change, it’s imperative to promptly inform the USPS of your updated whereabouts using the appropriate PO box address format.
    • It’s essential to adeptly navigate postal regulations and ensure that all aspects of your mailbox management, including your PO box street address and any supplementary PO box addresses, are well-organized and in compliance.


  • As we conclude this guide, consider the myriad of alternatives available for those seeking to receive mail without a traditional street address.
  • From the reliable PO box to the innovative virtual mailbox, the journey to safeguarding your correspondence is filled with varied and convenient options.
  • Utilize these approaches and begin an odyssey where your postal connections are as free as you are.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s a PO box?

  • A PO box address is a numbered box at a post office where mail is stored for pickup. It offers privacy and a stable address for those without a permanent residence or for frequent travelers. Renting a PO box is an alternative to home delivery, providing security for mail.

What are the benefits of a PO box?

  • A PO box address provides privacy, security, and stability for those without a permanent address or who travel frequently. It offers a consistent mailing address and keeps your home location private.
  • Businesses benefit from the professionalism it adds to correspondence handling.
  • The convenience of access to your mail at any time and the reliability of unaffected mail delivery are key benefits.

What are the limitations of using a PO box?

  • While PO boxes offer benefits, they have limitations. Size restrictions can be an issue for larger mail, and access is limited to post office hours, which may be inconvenient.
  • Recurring fees can add up, and PO boxes may not be suitable for certain documents or services that require a physical address.
  • For businesses, the lack of a street address can affect their image.

Can you get a P.O. box without a Physical Address

  • Yes. It’s possible to secure a PO Box without a traditional physical address. This option benefits individuals such as digital nomads or those in transition, offering a reliable way to receive mail and packages.

Do I have to have a local address to get a P.O. Box?

  • Yes. To rent a PO box the USPS requires a valid ID and proof of residence, such as a utility bill or lease.
  • For those without a fixed address, consider using a friend or family member’s address or a private mailbox service that provides a physical address for postal verification.

Can you have a PO Box instead of an address?

  • Yes. A PO box can replace a street address for privacy, but it’s not a legal street address for official documents or services requiring a physical location.
  • It’s a secure mailing option for businesses, travelers, and privacy seekers, but a street address is still needed for certain official matters.

What do I do if I don’t have a physical address?

  • You can rent a PO Box for a stable mailing address or use a work, friend’s business, or co-working space address for more flexibility. These alternatives cater to varying needs, from a fixed solution to a temporary arrangement.
    • A PO Box provides consistency, a work address offers convenience, and a friend’s business or co-working space may accept larger packages and provide additional services.

Can I use USPS General Delivery for long-term mail service?

  • Unfortunately not. USPS General Delivery is intended for short-term use, limited to 30 days. It’s a temporary solution for those without a fixed address. After the allotted time, unclaimed mail may be sent back. Thus, General Delivery is a provisional service during transitional periods.

How much is a PO box?

  • The cost of a PO box varies depending on the size of the box and the location of the post office.
    • Prices can range from as little as around $20 for a small box for a 6-month rental period in a rural area, to upwards of $360 or more for a large box in a high-demand urban location for the same duration.
  • It’s best to check with your local post office or the USPS website for the most accurate pricing in your area.
  • No. You can’t use a PO box as a legal address for official documents or instances that require a physical residence.
  • A PO box can be used as a mailing address where you can receive correspondence and packages, but it’s not recognized as a legal domicile by government and financial institutions that require a street address for verification purposes.

Can I use a PO box for business?

  • Yes. A PO box can be used for business purposes as a mailing address to receive correspondence and packages. However, it’s important to note that many jurisdictions require a physical street address for official business registration.
  • A PO box may not be suitable for all business-related needs, such as those requiring a legal address for service of process.
  • Always check with your local jurisdiction and business registration requirements to ensure compliance.